Henry John Drozdowski, Jr
During the Vietnam War there was no overriding reason to keep close track of names of the men and women who died as a result of military service in the war zone. A decade after the withdrawal of US forces, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was approved for construction. The service branches went back through their records to identify our dead by name.
Inevitably some men who should have been named on the "Wall" were not. Over the years additional names have been inscribed on the Wall - some were men who died after the war as a result of wounds received in the war, and others were men whose names were overlooked in earlier years.
The Department of Defense approved having his name etched on the Wall during May 2014, along with 13 other names.
PFC Henry John Drozdowski
Born in Hamtramck, Michigan on March 9th, 1947 to Clara and John H Drozdowski, Sr. He was raised in Michigan and went into the service in April 1966. Upon his completion of Basic and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Polk Louisiana in August 1966, he was reassigned to US Army, Pacific on his way to Vietnam. He was assigned as an Assistant Gunner with A Company, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, Vietnam.
On January 13, 1967, his unit was clearing a landing zone just west of Ben Cat when friendly artillery hit. Pacific Stars and Stripes reported supporting artillery fire landed on a 1st Infantry Division position Friday afternoon, killing eight and wounding 34 American soldiers. The mishap occured during Operation Cedar Falls in the Iron Triangle, 20 miles north of Saigon.
Preliminary investigation indicated the mishap was caused by an error in plotting of firing data. The investigation was continuing. The spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division said the unit was hit with 16 rounds of 155mm howitzer fire as it cleared the LZ. PFC Drozdowski was one of the 34 wounded.
He was wounded in the abdomen by fragments from the rounds; when he was medevaced, he was initially admitted to the 93rd Evacuation Hospital at Da Nang at 17:25 hours on the 13th. On the 24th of January, he was returned stateside for treatment, ultimately being permanently retired on disability on 17 November 1967. A proud decorated Vietnam veteran, Henry served well and received two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star.
He was an inspiration to all who knew him, enduring over 300 surgeries throughout his life due to the devastating injuries he received. Even with all of that, he was a resident of Warren, Michigan and a summer resident of Gladwin, spending summers at the cottage on Pratt Lake with family and friends. He had the best Fourth of July fireworks display on the lake.
He retired in 2003 after 30 years as an Engineer Technician for the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command (TACOM) Plant in Warren, Michigan. He died on April 30, 2011 in Warren, as a result of the wounds received during the "hostile action" in Vietnam. He was survived by his wife Sophie and two sons Brian and Scott and is buried in Christian Memorial Cultural Center Cemetery, Rochester Hills, Michigan.
- - - The Virtual Wall, May 12, 2014
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